Makunudu Island focuses on the key ingredients of a relaxing island escape to envelop its guests in idyllic seclusion. With a refreshingly uncomplicated approach to small island holidays there’s just one restaurant, one bar, and the only difference between rooms is location
Right in the middle of the azure blue of the Indian Ocean is an intimate little getaway, Makunudu Island, covering a total area of just six acres. Situated in the North Malé Atoll — just under an hour’s ride in a speedboat from Malé International Airport — this little dot in the ocean immerses you in the tranquillity of Makunudu. Though there’s no pool, the house reef can be reached straight from the beach, with colourful corals and fish, and regular visits from reef sharks and turtles.
There are 36 plush bungalows spread out discreetly along the beachfront, yet near enough to the water’s edge to hear the whoosh and wash of the ocean waves.
The deluxe beach bungalows, set amid the tropical vegetation, are traditional in style, crafted in local wood and stone with high thatched ceilings and earthy hues. Each bungalow has an open-air shower and private sun loungers, along with an array of modern amenities, to create a luxurious home-from-home atmosphere for guests.
Bamboo and nature play an important part in the decor of Makunudu Island’s restaurant, Ara Iru (meaning ‘rising sun’). The restaurant can seat a large number of guests from Makunudu or other islands but is spacious enough to ensure total privacy as required.
Dining is a fairly laid back affair — from the familiar to the exotic, from east to west, the menu is a mix of eclectic flavours for the palate. Indulge in sumptuous spreads of meat, fish, and tropical fruit and vegetables, plus the weekly barbecue of international grills and a traditional Maldivian buffet. Japanese and Spanish dishes have recently been introduced at Ara Iru to add even more variety to the food on offer. For added romance or for those special occasions, candlelit dinners can be arranged on the beach, in your bungalow or in another memorable setting on the island.
When it comes to drinks, the Sand Bar has things more than adequately covered — out on the deck, a gentle breeze cools guests while they marvel at the sunset with a cocktail in hand; it’s the ideal place to relax and unwind after a day on the beach or out on the water, and perhaps socialise with fellow travellers.
As well as relaxing on the beach, visitors to Makunudu Island can take holiday pampering to the next level by visiting the Aavun Spa. Maldivian, Asian and European techniques and traditions combine to serve up a large dose of health and wellbeing. Guests can be rejuvenated, feel fresh and indulge in a gentle massage, foot reflexology and facials. Among the most popular therapies offered at Aavun Spa are the Maldivian Journey — an 80-minute treatment that starts with a seashell massage, using pure indigenous coconut oil, followed by a full-body exfoliation with an exotic scrub blend of coconut and vanilla, to deeply cleanse and moisturise the skin — and the Indian head, neck and shoulder massage — a 30-minute treatment based on the Ayurvedic system of healing, where the scalp is massaged to provide relaxation and relief from tension and mental fatigue.
While a trip to the Maldives is generally associated with rest and relaxation, there’s plenty to see and do on Makunudu Island, both above and below the water. The crystal-clear turquoise waters lend themselves perfectly to revealing nature’s underwater beauty making swimming and snorkelling a real adventure.
The clear Maldivian waters — with stunning coral reefs and rich marine life — can be explored in closer detail by learning to dive. The island’s Dive Ocean Makunudu centre offers PADI courses as well as diving experience programmes. The centre will also take guests out to nearby dive sites to see a variety of marine life. These trips can be arranged for day or night-time, for added excitement.
Other pursuits available for the active traveller include windsurfing, waterskiing and even night fishing on a dhoni (traditional boat) in the company of local fishermen. There’s also the option of a sunset cruise, or a private champagne lunch on a secluded sandbank, tailored just for those special moments.
Makunudu Island’s unspoilt natural beauty wraps guests in the magic of silence and charm, and the lush vegetation and seclusion makes the resort a popular spot for romantic getaways and honeymoons. For those keen to escape to a genuine desert island paradise that offers friendly hospitality and a real sense of escape from the daily grind, then Makunudu Island is an ideal destination. Small enough to feel like you have the island to yourself, yet large enough to enjoy all the comforts and service of a luxury resort, Makunudu offers an idyllic and tranquil island escape.
Wake up with a garden shower — open to the lush outdoors yet completely discreet, and found in each bungalow space
Need to know
• 36 bungalows
• Ara Iru restaurant
• Sand Bar
• Aavun Spa
• Watersports and snorkelling